Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Getting to task...

With just 7 weeks until our biggest show of the year ahead of us, it's time to sort fleeces, wash them, dye and get them spun! It's important for our customers to know we sell products that are hand made here, not in a mill, not bought and resold, it happens here! Last weekend I took a leap and did a local Harvest Festival. I broke my rule of doing Fiber Festivals exclusively which was my first mistake. I spent the weekend watching other vendors selling products and items they had bought from suppliers and resold. In some cases they repackaged and sold the product as theirs. I was dumbfounded! 

But enough of that, I am in love with this fleece. I lost the tag but I know it was a lamb fleece. I love the sun bleached tips and can't wait to get this spun up! 

I cleaned up this Corriedale fleece and when I went to dye it I was going for some early fall colors but the dyes took on a mind of their own and I got this. I positively love the combination of color here. As per the course, the camera doesn't do it justice. Some of the tips took on dark shades, just beautiful. One thing I have learned all these years in dyeing is the fleece, dyes and colors will do what they want.

Here I used a combination of nutmeg, salmon, and some other dyes. I was going for some fall colors here too, but well same old story but I love it!
I dyed some Merino the colors of the rainbow and have an idea for a yarn in my head. 

So this is the state of the back deck right now, drying and getting ready for some lined up projects soon to come as we get ready to gear up for the New England Fiber Festival!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Some Felting fun and upcoming event!

With the cooler weather upon us, I have been working day and night when I can getting ready for fall show season. We picked up a new one we are going to try out this year. We went last year and were quite impressed and noticed no one was doing what we had. We will be at the Monroe Apple Festival this year, Saturday Sept 7 from 10-5 and Sunday Sept 8 from 10-4. Above I felted these gourds for display as we will be selling felting supplies along with other items. 

I got this idea from seeing it at a Spring Fair. I had an extra flower pot, queued up some pictures of cactuses and came up with this. Can you imagine? A plant you don't have to water or kill?! It's for display only, we will not be selling this.

This little pumpkin was made as a prototype for a kit we will be offering at the fair along with an expanded variety of new kits as well. So if you are looking for something to do this weekend, stop by the show and say hi!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wildlife Woes

Animal husbandry cannot be easy without a few issues. We have a goldfish pond that provides water for our bees while the goldfish eat the mosquito larvae. It's a great little place where we will often have coffee in the morning. I went out a couple of days ago and my fish didn't come up to the top of the water. They were terrified by something, and then I saw these fresh wet prints pond side! The tracks of a Great Blue Heron I suspected!

We quickly placed a netting layer tight over the pond to protect of fish. 

This afternoon, I stepped out front just in time to see the biggest Great Blue Heron I have ever seen quickly take flight up and over the gate. Just look at the size of these tracks!  Autumn freaked out as well and it set off a two hour alarm call from the alpacas! I guess it could be worse, so we'll continue to fend off our goldfish hunter and hope for the best! 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

My Yarns are in a twist...

At the end of last year I received 3 years of processed alpaca from my shearers. With so much fiber I had a lot of spinning to do! One of my most requested yarns at shows are dyed yarns in a twist. This was much of my winter and spring project as I sat next to the wood burning stove to keep warm. However, a certain husband has decided he likes my spinning chair so there is a fight for the seat!

I got onto pastels and went from there!

Lots and lots of plying happened here!

The next few weeks will be all about getting ready for the fall shows! These yarns are just the start!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Egg Sale!

We are in egg overload here! Our girls are producing at an unbelievable rate that we and our regular customers cant keep up with! For a limited time until the madness stops, we will be offering 2 dozen for $5.00! Our fridge is packed! 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Poor Frankie

Poor Frankie hasn't been feeling so well. Last week I noticed him sitting in his litter box. I took him out and noticed he had fly strike on his side! I quickly put my skills to work cleaning it out, flushing his side and checking him over. I was not too late! He was given antibiotics as well as something to treat the area. The only thing I could think was I may have accidently clipped him during grooming or he got a scratch while in the outside exercising pen. He has spent a week now in our bathroom which he has thoroughly enjoyed and seen things he cannot unsee! We are not quite sure how his face got like this! He got cleaned up and clipped and is doing great. This is the sweetest boy! 

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Class of 2019 graduate chicks!

Our chicks are growing so fast and becoming so beautiful! We added some new breeds to our flock and they are coming along just fine. This year we had lost a few to failure to survive as well as two being trampled. I was not too pleased about that and learned that placement of the water bottle and a tight corner was the reason. 
Above is a Cuckoo Maran pullet. They look much like a Barred Rock but their pattern is not a continuous barred pattern and it gives them somewhat of a smoky look to them. 

This chick is a stunner! A blue Americana, but I am suspicious this is a rooster, not a hen. I could be wrong but those tail feathers have me thinking!

A Lavender Orpington! These chicks are not only stunning as they give off the appearance of lavender coloring but are a super friendly breed! I believe this one will be a rooster. I bought these as straight runs and it appears this may be the only roo!

This Golden Laced Wyandotte is a pretty little up and coming hen. Their patterns are coming along nicely.

Another rare colored Americana, this one too I believe may be a roo but it's still out for debate.

My only Buff Orpington. I call her "honkie". She has this uncanny honk sound she makes all the time when she gets excited. She's a sweet in your face chick who when I come in, she's all over me and what I am doing.

This sweety is an Olive Egger, yet a very rare blue.

I was so excited when they offered this breed tis year! The gorgeous Welsummer! 

Just look at the color pattern here. This is beautiful bird and I am looking forward to seeing them grow into their beauty!

Our only Speckled Sussex who is in a very awkward stage right now, her speckles are coming in but taking their time!

One last glance of the Lavender Orpingtons. He in foreground and I am thinking roo in front. They are till growing and changing but I am so pleased with theis birds and adding them to our flock!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Apiary Surprises!

A few post back we tried an experiment using a cast off Queen from another hive. Sadly she died in the Queen cage. I prepared for inspections today totally expecting Hive 4 to be drone filled and no Queen. However, to my surprise it was quite the opposite. I first took out this frame and low and behold, two baby bees were emerging from their cells! Above in the picture you can see them emerging and in the top right, bee larvae in the cells!

The next frame was loaded with all different stages of honeybees! I was positively shocked!

And then, I found her! The Queen, unmarked that I quickly trapped in my new Queen cage! I love this new style. It's so easy to get her in there and even easier to mark her. You put it over her, a small door slides under her and the a small lever brings her upward. So much easier than the old conventional markers.

She of course was marked green for 2019 and was not too happy about it! Once she was dried off I released her back into the hive. Mind you I am still in shock by this point...

but what surprised me the most they had all the frames filled with brood, pollen and stored honey, capped! So they got a new box that they were quickly exploring. This hive is extremely docile and calm. Good genetics there!

I inspected the other hives and found that they too are filled to the gills and were in deep need of new boxes. So once again the Apiary leaves me speechless as it was quite the opposite of what I expected. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Making Herbal Iced Tea the easy way!

Do you grow those herbs and just don't know what to do with them? There are so many things and exploring the possibilities is all the fun! You can make a simple herbal iced tea the easy way with just a few steps. In the picture above I have chosen some herbs. Top to bottom are: Apple Mint, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Spearmint and Kentucky Mint. 

You can use a store bought tea, make a store bought iced tea mix, make sun tea by placing water in a jar with tea bags in the sun, or whatever you choose. In this case I have selected a store bought tea.

Place your washed herbs in the container whole, place the lid back on and put in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will allow the herbs to seep their wonderful flavors into your tea.

Simply pour into a glass, add a sprig of mint for garnish and your friends will be so impressed by this flavorful tea! Enjoy!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

But Mom!!!

"But Mom, he started it" is the look I got from Norman after coming to Winchester's aid after he was being picked on by Norman! I tried very hard to be stern and tell him under no circumstances is it nice to pick on his brother with a straight face!

It's usually Norman who gets picked on by Teddy or Awan so he can't understand why he is in trouble here!

He even moved closer to me as if to say "but mom, no fair"!!! Did I approach this situation with a straight face, of course not! These guys are hysterical and cause me great joy with their antics!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Making soil is easy!

A few months ago we built a new compost bin out of simple pallets. It was free wood and is a great sustainable way to make your own compost and soil! We used 4 pallets, joined them together and the front was lowered to be able to get in and turn the compost. It really is easy, making the commitment to put your kitchen scraps in the compost and not in the garbage, that's future soil you're throwing away!

With all the rabbit poop, hay, food scraps and what have you, it's filling up quickly!

In our old compost that we are now utilizing, we saw an experiment about putting a pair of jeans in the compost to see how fast the worms will eat them. I came across this waist band and noticed the worms had eaten the rest! 

This is the soil from our older compost! Just amazing black gold! I have repotted many pots, replenished my garden beds and every flower got some when it was planted. So much money was saved and it was so easy!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A Queen Experiment

As I was strolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed my friend Susan had posted that she found this Queen in her bee yard surrounded by about 10 workers. It's suspected as a cast off swarm but it could very well be a mated Queen. Our Hive 4 has been struggling. I noticed they had lost their Queen, I made an attempt to add two frames of eggs and brood but to no avail, they are just a dumb bunch of girls in there! 
I quickly answered my friend that I was looking for a queen and she said I could have her! She offered to rush her over and she did. I gave her a couple of drops of honey which she promptly devoured. She looks healthy, her abdomen is swollen, so she may have just mated.

My friend plugged the hole with a marshmallow so I taped the end and placed a rubber band over it to keep her in there for a few days. In no time the workers came up to see what was going on. This one is cleaning up some of the leftover honey.

Soon many of the bees where coming up to investigate and I am sure they are detecting her pheromones as well.

As I watched, more arrived! We will leave her in the queen cage for a few days. At this point if we were to introduce her, they would kill her. I will revisit in a day or so to see if they are tending to her, fingers crossed!